New West Wednes … er, I mean Thursday: Residents’ Associations

My neighbour reminded me today that I forgot to post this week’s New West Wednesday question yesterday. Sorry! Hopefully you won’t mind if we do it today instead. This week, I’d like to hear what you think about Residents’ Associations in New Westminster. Have you ever attended a meeting? Why or why not? What doRead More

My neighbour reminded me today that I forgot to post this week’s New West Wednesday question yesterday. Sorry! Hopefully you won’t mind if we do it today instead.

This week, I’d like to hear what you think about Residents’ Associations in New Westminster. Have you ever attended a meeting? Why or why not? What do you think about your RA? What do you think the role of RAs is or should be for New West residents?

Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

Briana Tomkinson is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.

13 comments

  1. RA are the breeding grounds for our local political wanna be's.

    Need I name names ?

    Otherwise they are completely ineffectual in local residential affairs.

    1. It's atitudes like this that make RA's ineffective. It's like voting in elections, you get out of them what you put into them.
      RA's are usually issue driven. When sewers backed up into peoples homes in Moody Park, the 28 victims showed up at a meeting and as a group, approached the city and got results.
      When I chaired the Moody Park Residents Association, we had a bi-monthly very proactive Newsletter we hand delivered to 800 homes. We had fund raisers and recently donated to food banks and the youth center. RA members also sit on the numerous advisory committee's voicing opinions on zoning and developement changes and simply doing their part in the community.

      Political wanna be's maybe, Ineffectual in residential affairs, not true,.It sounds like you need to join up! What area do you live in? Ah, but never mind with you involved nothing would get done. RA's are only as effective as the members are.

      1. "When sewers backed up into peoples homes in Moody Park, the 28 victims showed up at a meeting and as a group, approached the city and got results. "

        Is this really something a RA has to become involved with ? That is no-question a city engineering operations issue. And why they would come to a RA to voice the issue just shows how well the city takes care of it's citizens and infrastructure.

        "We had fund raisers and recently donated to food banks and the youth center"

        One RA had a BBQ fund raiser last year and was accepting donations ! Do you know who the benefactor of the donations went to ? The resident association. PATHETIC.

        "RA members also sit on the numerous advisory committee's" – Yes, and some of those committee's will only allow people who are members of a RA to sit on them, excluding any citizens who do not wish to be a member of a RA. Hardly seems fair doesn't it ?

        "Ineffectual in residential affairs, not true" – John, How many members are in the average RA ? 30 ? 40 ? I think the Quayside boasts the most members, but still nothing has been done with longstanding issues. I have heard that RA that meet in our public schools will be needing to carry liability insurance. But one thing is very clear, RA do not represent the MAJORITY of a community.

        "With you involved nothing would get done." – That's the spirit John !

        1. Rick,
          when you have one person going to engineering you MAY get action. When you have 28 you not only get action you get resolve of what was a group problem.

          Do you know who the benefactor of the donations went to ? Easy to find out…. ask!

          Yes, and some of those committee's will only allow people who are members of a RA to sit on them.
          Anyone can sit on a committee!
          But one thing is very clear, RA do not represent the MAJORITY of a community.

          They represent those who CHOOSE to make a difference. There are a lot that don't and so be it, it's their choice.

          1. "when you have one person going to engineering you >>>MAY<<< get action. When you have 28 you not only get action you get resolve of what was a group problem. "

            So why did they have to come to a RA meeting to get resolution as your previous post suggested ? Why does a single person going to engineering regarding a problem >>>MAY<<< get action ? That doesn't make sense in my books. If a city infrastructure to a single residence is malfunctioning, the city has a responsibility to repair in a timely manour. That it took 28 residents to get together to resolve an issue speaks VOLUMES.

            John, I did ask where the donations went ! Thats why I reported they went to the RA ! Why is (atleast) one RA taking donations for themselves ?

            You then go on to tell me that anyone can sit on a committee ? How patently false ! Ever hear of something called the 'terms of reference' for a committee ? Most people sitting on committee's know very little about committee structures, and their role in it, that much is certain ! Granted most city committee's have a handful of 'community at large' representatives, others do not ! Get informed to what little power you actually yield on a committee, otherwise your wasting everyones time including your own John !

            I choose to make a difference too John, but I don't want to have to pay anyone off, or make a donation to a political campaign to do it !!!

            It's called freedom ! And the best part is it doesn't cost me a dime !

  2. I showed up at my neighbourhood RA's AGM in January and before I knew it, I was the acclaimed as the VP. All I wanted to do was help. So far we meet every two months, we can't decide if we want to have a picnic in September or not, and we had a neighbourhood garage sale. I am the youngest person to participate by about 20 years (I'm 37) and most meetings are a fast and boring. BUT! I like having a group that can help bring neighbourhoods together.

    1. "before I knew it, I was the acclaimed as the VP"

      Well that hardly seems fair or democratic.

  3. Wow! @jenarbo. Our stories are almost identical. Showed up for neighbourhood association AGM, now I’m secretary. Showed up for another larger org’s AGM, I’m now on that board of directors. Younger than anyone by far. Having our neighbourhood garage sale this weekend. Trying to plan a picnic for September. Crazy!

  4. No I haven't, I'm renting right now and not overly sure if I want to get immersed in local drama/politics. Plus what do the RA's actually do??

    1. Very good Megan !
      You catch on quick !

      RA will not give two hoots about you because you are not a rate payer and therefore a transient resident.

  5. I am sure it seems that way to you, Rick. The entire executive was acclaimed as only one person was willing to stand for each position. There was no need for a vote. I did put my hand up and volunteer as the position was unfilled. So it was fair and it was democratic.

  6. Good for Jen and Maryanne, you are what makes this city vibrant. Megan you are a resident and you do not need to be homeowner to join an RA. Join yours and make a difference. Sapperton RA just unveiled their Side walk Mosaics. Queensborough their All Wheel Park, Moody Park fought hard against the permanent closing of the Kiwanis Pool to the benefit of hundreds of kids in MP and the Brow of the hill area. RA's associations all have representation on the Community Policing Committee, and the list goes on.
    Join us for the 12th Street Music Festival or the Grimston Festival with organizers from West End, Moody Park, and the Brow. And please Ignore Rick, he is obviously out of step with reality and doesn't " Catch On" at all.

  7. I joined the Brow of the Hill Residents Association early in the century and similiar to Jen and Maryanne was soon elected (I think first as secretary, maybe as V-P too?). I get the sense RAs are the type of organization where if you show up, you're elected V-P, if you don't you're elected President. : )
    For the record, I was a renter the whole time I was a member and always felt my opinion had equal weight to anyone else in the room.
    We were responsible for getting the Brow of the Hill signs done for the neighbourhood. I liked the low-key nature of our group. I was our rep on the Community Policing Committee — gotta say, that did feel kind of pointless. Nice group of people, just not sure what was achieved other than info sharing. But that was more than six years ago, so it may have changed.
    Overall, being on the Residents Association made me feel more connected to my community and much more aware of community issues. Definitely worth checking out.

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